When it comes to photography, or any business really, sometimes you need to pivot in order to succeed.
What Is a Pivot?
A pivot, in a business sense, is when you make a shift from one sector to another. It could be from being business to business and shifting to business to consumer, or in the case of twitch.tv, going from life live-streaming to (predominantly) videogame live-streaming. In the case of photography, it can be many things, but I found a lot of success pivoting from portraits/fashion to product, and I haven't looked back.
How Do You Do It?
To pivot from one specialty to another is actually not that difficult. You can look up tutorials; our very own "The Hero Shot" was a big help for me in the transition from people to products. It can include a lot of portfolio-building work, however, so be ready to do a lot of self-motivated work with yourself as the client. So, if you want to shift to product photography like I did, go out, buy some pretty products, and get shooting!Shoot varied subjects, and shoot a lot. If you want to push more into fashion/portraits, get some friends together, look online for models, and shoot the style of work you see in magazines while you find your own personal voice. If you are pivoting to products, think about what sorts of products you want to be shooting. Makeup? Jewelry? Sports equipment? Do you want to shoot e-commerce or more commercial one-off images? Shoot the work you want to make, and build that book until it's strong enough to show to potential clients.
Once your book is filled up with strong work, it's time to start calling around. Look for people you want to work with and who may want to work with you. This can include contacting ad agencies, local businesses, and even putting out a call to your friends to see who needs help. It's a lot of work to re-brand yourself, but once you've done it, if the stars align just right, your bank account will thank you for it.
Why Would You Do Such a Thing?
The art of the pivot is integral for any small business. Being able to recognize when something just isn't working and being able to shift the skills you already have into something that is working more in your favor is priceless. When I was shooting portraits and fashion, I had very very few regular clients — mostly one-offs here and there. But since shifting into product a couple of months ago, not only did I learn something new and renew my love for photography again, I have already nabbed myself a couple of clients that look like they'll be regulars.
In conclusion, the art of the pivot is something that every photographer, heck, every small business owner, should look into. It can expand your client list, teach you new skills, and perhaps most importantly, make you more money. Have you considered or executed, a pivot in your photography business? Let us know how it went in the comments below!